Hizb ut-Tahrir will no longer be allowed to operate in the UK due to allegations of antisemitism, according to the UK’s home secretary.
The group of Islamists, already prohibited in nations such as Germany and Indonesia, will be prohibited from recruiting, holding protests, and conducting meetings throughout the United Kingdom.
The group has faced criticism from ministers for organizing protests against Israel’s attacks on Gaza.
If the parliament approves, a preliminary decree that was presented on Monday will take effect on January 19th. This implies that engaging in, encouraging support for, or exhibiting materials in a public area in a manner that raises suspicion of being a member or supporter of the group will be considered a criminal act.
The home secretary, James Cleverly, stated that Hizb ut-Tahrir is a group that promotes anti-Semitism and supports terrorism, even going as far as to commend the 7 October attacks.
Banning this extremist organization will guarantee that those who are affiliated with and promote it will face repercussions. This measure will limit Hizb ut-Tahrir’s current operations.
Some violations that are prohibited by law may result in a prison sentence of up to 14 years, which a court may impose as a punishment instead of, or in addition to, a monetary penalty.
After the 7 October assaults by Hamas and the resulting military retaliation from Israel, Hizb ut-Tahrir chose not to criticize Hamas, a group that is already prohibited in the UK. Instead, they praised the attacks on Israeli civilians, stating “if a resistance group can do this, just imagine what a united response from the Muslim world could accomplish.” The organization has urged Muslim nations to “mobilize your armies and eliminate the Zionist occupiers.”
In the past, Hizb ut-Tahrir, which was attempted to be banned by Tony Blair and David Cameron during their time in Downing Street, has advocated for the elimination of the “Zionist entity” and has used derogatory language towards Jews.
In October, the members of the group participated in a protest outside the embassies of Egypt and Turkey in London, urging for “Muslim armies” to take action against Israel.
Abdul Wahid, the leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir in the UK, has utilized his real name, Dr Wahid Asif Shaida, for over two decades while working as a family physician.
Following a report by the Mail on Sunday, Shaida stated that he also goes by the name Abdul Wahid but denies that Hizb ut-Tahrir is an “extremist” group. He believes that the term is negative and lacks a clear definition. He also mentioned that he maintains a strict boundary between his professional and political endeavors for the sake of professional integrity.
Shaida has been approached for a comment.Hizb ut-Tahrir seeks the establishment of a caliphate in the Middle East. Critics, including former members of the group, have claimed it is a gateway to violent extremism.
Blair made a commitment to prohibit Hizb ut-Tahrir as a component of a plan to combat extremism following the bombings on 7 July 2005, however the suggestion was ultimately abandoned.
David Cameron criticized Blair’s failure, stating that Hizb ut-Tahrir was a “conveyor-belt to terrorism”. However, when Cameron ended his term as prime minister eight years later, there still was no ban in effect.
In both instances, the proposals were abandoned following objections that the organization was peaceful and arguments from attorneys that a prohibition would not be able to be enforced.
The group has a base in Lebanon and is active in over 32 nations, including the US, Canada, and Australia. The Home Office stated that their ultimate objective is to create a caliphate governed by Islamic law.
In the 1950s, a goal was set in Jerusalem to create an international caliphate spanning all Muslim nations.
In the 1990s, it gained attention when led by Omar Bakri Muhammed, known as the “Tottenham Ayatollah”, who departed in 1996 to establish the more extreme organization, al-Muhajiroun.
The remaining members of the group have claimed to be law-abiding. They have publicly stated that they do not endorse Hamas or promote the use of violence in pursuit of an Islamic state.
Hizb ut-Tahrir has been approached for a comment. Last year, the group denied it was antisemitic, saying: “We do not support the Hamas group, but support the people of Palestine.
“We do not promote mimicking of actions, but rather seek political reform in order to utilize the resources of Muslim nations towards the liberation and assistance of the oppressed people of Palestine. Stating that Palestinians deserve freedom from this harsh occupation should not be seen as causing division.”
Labour’s shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, expressed support for the ban. She stated that it was appropriate for the government to promptly consider the available evidence and intelligence on the danger posed by Hizb ut-Tahrir. She also welcomed and backed the decision to outlaw the group.
In the past, prominent members of the Conservative party have expressed disapproval of Keir Starmer’s involvement with Hizb ut-Tahrir in 2008. At the time, the group was attempting to reverse a ban in Germany. Starmer was part of a legal team that filed a petition to the European court of human rights, but it was rejected and the ban stayed in place.
According to the party, Labour claims to have followed the “cab rank” protocol when accepting the job and stepped down prior to any oral hearings in order to assume the role of director of public prosecutions. During his time as DPP, he oversaw cases involving “terrorists connected to Hizb ut-Tahrir and handled the initial prosecution of al-Qaida.”